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Severe obesity still rising in Louisiana

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BATON ROUGE - Obese children are a growing health issue in Louisiana, according to health researchers.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center, along with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, said they're working to change that.

"The severe obese children... that is increasing, exponentially," said Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk. "It's only about 5 percent right now, but 10 or 15 years ago it was only one percent, so it's gone up three to four times in the last couple of decades, so its increase has been extremely fast."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has 12 grant programs in the state. They're connecting people with fresh, healthy foods. Some programs are creating an "active" life-style easier, while others educate people on illness brought on by obesity, like diabetes.

"We've given out 10,000 pounds of fresh produce across the state in the last year. We've built 14 miles of walking paths, 4 miles of biking paths," continued Christy Reeves, with Blue Cross and Blue Shied Foundation. "Kids were learning, they were eating more fruits and vegetables but when they were home and they didn't have a safe place to play and they didn't have access to fruits and vegetables, everything that they were learning was lost."

For more on the local research being done into childhood obesity, visit the Pennington Biomedical Research Center website.


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